MEET the building blocks Orange Hawks hope will lay the foundations for a successful Group 10 premier league campaign in 2013.
Arty Shead and Terawhiti Cooper have signed on with the two blues for the upcoming winter in two massive coups for the club ahead of what is shaping up as one of the closest Group 10 top grade competitions on record.
Up close, there won’t be a bigger prop pairing in the game.
Shead, 34, is towering at 197 centimetres tall and 115 kilograms, while those in Group 10 will be familiar with the dimensions of Cooper, having seen the kiwi wrecking ball in action with Group 10 powerhouse Orange CYMS for the last three years.
Now, with both at Hawks for 2013, the two blues will have little trouble laying the foundation moving forward for the likes of new captain-coach Tim Mortimer and half Scott Rosser to work their magic out wide.
Shead was excited about the year ahead.
“Definitely. I’m here for two years with Hawks and my wife is with me, we’re looking at laying a foundation, starting our lives so to speak,” the Auckland-born enforcer said.
“I’d like to try and play every game and be at every training session for the club this season.”
Brought to the club thanks to a friendship forged with last year’s mentor James Wynne throughout their time together in the French national side, Shead brings a wealth of experience, and, needless to say, size, to Hawks’ pack this season.
“I’ve grown up in New Zealand then moved to France when I turned 18 until [moving to Australia] last year,” he said.
“I’ve played for five French clubs and played for the French national side, earning 17 caps.
“James sort of inspired me to come here. He said it was a good club and good country footy.
“I’m at the age where I’m looking at the bigger picture and so I want to finish my career at a good club and meet some good blokes.”
Alongside Shead, the signing of Cooper will add plenty of power up-front for Hawks.
Cooper has helped lead CYMS to the last three Group 10 premier league grand finals, winning two, and it’ll take a game man and a big pack to get over the top of the Hawks club in 2013.
Shead said he was looking forward to the physicality of bush footy.
“I’m not shy. That’s footy. I don’t mind getting bumps and bruises,” he smiled.
“It’s part of the game.”
The club trains every Wednesday and Friday afternoon from 6pm at CSU Orange.